Friday, July 8, 2011

Cycling hint #4: Eat and drink, or you will "bonk"

Having put a bit of thought on my ride up Mt Baw Baw early this year, and how bad I felt after the finish, I now know I had bonked, was suffering from hunger flat, had hit the wall or was very close.

Whatever term we might choose, I remember being fatigued, cold, slightly irritable and a little dased as I battled myself up the climb. Dased enough not to ask for the bag of Gummy Snakes Sandra (the DS) had in the car, or the gillet back. I didn't get to hallucinate but have been close in the past. These a few of the symptoms for hypoglycemia, or simply having an empty tank.

That's because I didn't eat enough.

I had planned my food and drink intake for the 102 km/2800m elevation race. I had a bag of nuts and dry dates and three gels. I had been training on nuts and dates for weeks by then and was happy with them. What I didn't plan was to drop the bag on the road at the 25 km mark and be left just with the gels in my pocket. Not enough!

At the feed, I was too focused on the moves ahead to remember I needed something else. I was lucky to finish that race...

To avoid the bonk:
  • Practise eating often on training rides
  • Experiment with different foods while training
  • Drink and eat before you are thirsty or hungry
  • Start your carbohydrate intake days before a long event
  • Drink sports drinks and water
  • Eat mainly carbohydrate-rich foods during the ride
  • Avoid drinking coke during and after the ride

For a comprehensive read on "bonking", visit Tuned in to Cycling

Safe cycling!

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